When learning or practicing the martial art of Aikido, there are some general guidelines and practices to be aware of that will help keep you safe and get the most out of your training! For the most part, these are universal in the martial art of Aikido, and can likely be found in some degree in most dojo you visit.
You know your body
We do our best to encourage you to expand while adapting content to meet you where you are. Some of the exercises are intentionally challenging or difficultWithin this context though, it is important that you listen to your own body. You are fully in charge of what you do while training, and are ultimately in charge of your own safety.
Listen with your body
Connecting to your attacker and their attack keeps you safe. Connecting to your attacker is also how you learn Aikido. Your body can not figure out what the attacker is doing if you are rigid, too strong, or trying to stop the attacker from moving. Stay safe, stay learning and stay connected
You exit the speed you enter
All of our techniques are practiced in partners or groups. When beginning, such practice can be intimidating. If you don't yet feel confident in receiving a technique or throw in response to your attack, then attack slowly. In Aikido, this tells the other partner to apply the technique just as slowly.
What goes around comes around
I call this the iron rule of martial arts training. When training in pairs, almost everyone attacks as well as defends. Take care that you attack and defend sincerely, but carefully. If one partner is overly aggressive in attacking or defending, the other partner will almost always have a chance to return the sentiment. While not inherently bad, this usually results in both people missing the lesson of the technique or class by only focusing on competing with each other. It is far better to work together to understand the techniques.
Tap to stop
In addition to strikes and throws, Aikido also utilizes pins and pressure. If at anytime you are working with a partner and the technique causes pain, simply tap / slap any surface loudly and keep tapping until the technique is halted (it is normal practice to halt techniques as soon as a partner taps once, but it never hurts to tap more!) . Do not be in a such a rush to tap, though, that you miss the chance to let your body listen to how, where, and when the technique works.